Press Advisories

21. 1. 2016 19:59

Members of the government led by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka met with the ambassadors of foreign countries

Premiér Bohuslav Sobotka se ve čtvrtek 21. ledna 2016 sešel s velvyslanci zahraničních zemí v ČR.
Members of the government led by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka met with the ambassadors of foreign countries, 21st January 2016.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka met today, 21st January 2016, in the Liechtenstein Palace in Prague with the ambassadors of foreign countries in the Czech Republic. Following up on the first joint meeting, which took place in 2014.

Evening meeting was also attended by 1st Deputy Prime Minister for Economy and Finance Minister Andrej Babis, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Michaela Marksová, Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Kateřia Valachová, Defence Minister Martin Stropnický, Industry and Trade Minister Jan Mládek, Justice Minister Robert Pelikán, Minister of Culture Daniel Herman, Minister for Human Rights, Equal Opportunities and Legislation Jiří Dienstbier and Minister for Regional Development Karla Šlechtová.

Speech by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka

You Excellency Mr. Apostolic Nuncio, Distinguished Ambassadors,

I´m glad to meet you at the beginning of the new year. I´m pleased that there are also several non-resident ambassadors among us, who took the time to travel to Prague from Berlin and Bratislava. I would like to use this occasion to wish all of you, the entire diplomatic corps, much success in your diplomatic activities and also good luck in your personal lives.

Last year was extraordinary as we increasingly perceived the importance of foreign policy, day by day, both at European and international level. From the very start, my government clearly defined itself as a pro-European. Firm anchorage of the Czech Republic in European structures is only natural considering the culture and values that connect our country with other European countries. From my perspective, it is also absolutely indispensable, together with the transatlantic link, as the main guarantee of security and prosperity of the Czech Republic. As the presiding country of the Visegrad Group we also pay great attention to deepen regional cooperation in Central Europe, which I consider one of the pillars of Czech foreign policy.

At the same time, we managed to reach a new qualitative level of cooperation, eg. with some partners in Asia or Africa. The Czech Republic actively responds to the changing international environment, which is increasingly multi-polar. In this sense, the government updated the Concept of the Czech Republic´s Foreign Policy. As a country we are open to the world, both economically and intellectually. We are interested in deepening economic and cultural exchange with partners at all continents and work with them to resolve global problems and to further develop international law and institutions.

In 2015, we witnessed quite a few major international events. The adoption of the Paris agreement on climate change and setting new Sustainable Development Goals at the UN summit in New York were historical moments for the future of our planet. However, 2015 will remain in our memory also due to the threat of international terrorism. There were brutal terrorist attacks at many places across various continents and they hit Europe dreadfully as well. These events undoubtedly changed the way we will perceive our security in the coming decades.

The year 2015 will be remembered also in connection with the phenomenon of mass migration. The fact that there are currently hundreds of thousands of people on the move, fleeing war and violence, is unfortunately a sad proof of today's reality.

The Czech Republic is ready to continue its engagement in the strengthening of international peace and security. We are increasing our presence in UN peacekeeping operations and our military operates in a number of other international stabilization missions. We actively engage in efforts to address the migration crisis, as much as possible. During 2015, our government provided 1,1 billion CZK for development and humanitarian aid and for other programs to help refugees and the countries bearing the greatest burden in the refugee wave. We will provide this support continuously because we believe that we must focus our attention not only on the consequences of the refugee wave, but especially on its root causes.

Ladies and gentlemen, foreign policy is an important responsibility of the government. I feel a great responsibility for the Czech position in Europe and its engagement in efforts to solve global challenges. I want to assure you that as prime minister I will continue to do everything for the Czech Republic to be an active and responsible partner on the international scene and to follow a path of political stability, which enables predictable foreign policy based on a broad political consensus on crucial issues.

Finally, I would like to thank you for your cooperation last year. I appreciate flexible and effective communication of your embassies with the Office of Government, which I rely on when preparing my foreign activities. I find very rewarding to have meetings with regional groups of Ambassadors which we started last year and which I would like to hold regularly also in the future.

So I believe that the new year will bring many opportunities to meet again on professional and personal level. I wish all of you a new year full of moments of joy and satisfaction. Thank you for coming in such a large number and I look forward to our further cooperation.

print article   email   facebook   twitter

Photo gallery